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I’ve been doing some research on Vampires–yep, Vampires, thanks to the third book in my Apprentice Angel series. Tentatively titled Unworldly Angel, the plot revolves around a young girl who’s really into *gasp!* Vampires! Something I swore I’d never write about but…never say never, right? Anyway, I started researching Vampires and I kept getting lots and lots and OMG, tons of sites dealing with Stephenie Meyer and her Twilight series. Now, I’ve never read the first word in any of her books but when you’re researching Vampires, the Twilight series is all the rave right now and you can’t get away from it. Seeing all the sites, I couldn’t help but click on a few. The first one I ran across that had me stopping to read was called Reasoning with Vampires where the blogger first read the series then posted about the many mistakes/errors in the books. From the blog:

Before I had any right to dismiss Twihards or criticize the psychologically unhealthy relationship model that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen present, I felt obliged to read the books. So I did. All four novels, one novella, and an incomplete document in portable format.  The content lived down to my expectations, but I was unprepared for how poorly crafted the saga is.

Pretty funny stuff–and boy, I can’t tell you how much I would hate to see my own books held to this kind of scrutiny!

From Reasoning with Vampires, I found another blog, Mark Reads, where the blogger reads books and reviews them chapter by chapter, including the entire Twilight series. Hilarious, so much so I’ve added it to my Favorites list and am slowly, slowly, like I’m savoring every word of every post, working my way through his reviews. Like I said, he doesn’t concentrate solely on the Twilight books but since my chief interest right now is with Vampires, I haven’t clicked on any of the other chapter-by-chapter reviews although I hope I’ll find the time to read them all one day.

Anyway, I’ve made my way through the first two books, Twilight and…uh-oh, can’t remember the title of the second one…Eclipse? No, New Moon. Yeah, that’s it, New Moon. After the last chapter of New Moon, there’s a post entitled “Mark Reads ‘The Story Behind the Writing of New Moon’” from Ms. Meyer’s own website. And it was in that post that I finally–finally!–found something I disagree with Mark about–sort of–and OMG, I hate to say it, agree with Ms. Meyers–um, partly, anyway.

She writes:

…I am a character writer. I write my stories because of my characters; they are the motivation and the reward. The difficulty with strong, defined characters, though, is that you can’t make them do something that is out of character. They have to be who they are and, as a writer, they’re often out of your control.

Mark’s response:

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. There are few times you have ever kept your characters consistent. May I remind you of the bizarre, unnatural things you’ve made Jacob do? You are ABSOLUTELY in control of your characters! THEY ARE NOT REAL PEOPLE.

The thing is, I understand exactly what Ms. Meyer is saying. She has a point about strong characters being the “motivation and reward”–and I have to add that was beautifully expressed!–and she’s also right when she says “you can’t make them do something that is out of character.” Except, according to Mark, Ms. Meyer manages to do that a lot. And judging from Mark’s chapter-by-chapter reviews of the first two books in the series, I have to say Ms. Meyer’s characters are definitely inconsistent.

And if they are, that’s all on Ms. Meyer. There are times when my characters do what they want instead of what I want. Yes, characters, as Mark says, are not real people but they can certainly drive the story down a different road than the one the author had in mind. And I know Mark is talking more about keeping the characters consistent, which is a must, but I have to say I’m with Ms. Meyer on the strong characters “are often out of control.” Witness Betty Sue in Storm Shadows. I almost didn’t finish that book because she was so adamant about taking the story in a completely unexpected directionand it’s not always easy to force a character to do something they don’t want to do. They may not be real but when you’re the author, they are very real to you and sometimes it’s impossible to argue with them.

But, and this is a big BUT, if they’re acting out of character, it’s your job as the author to take over the wheel and drive them in the right direction–even if you have to sneak and do it!

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Well okay, not so much here in the mountains where it’s another rainy cold day, but in Florida, with less than a week to go until the first game, baseball is definitely getting warmer because…Manny’s in the house!  For the first time since 2005, Manny arrived on time for Spring training, and from his statements to the press he’s ready to play and looking forward to this season.

Could it be his last as a Boston Red Sox?  I have a hard time believing that and hope it won’t happen.  But then, as everyone knows, I’m a Manny Fan Girl.  I just can’t imagine the Red Sox without him, can’t imagine watching a game where there isn’t the Big Papi/Manny threat hovering over the opposing pitcher’s head, can’t imagine a time when another player will take on the job of taming Fenway’s Green Monster.

The Red Sox without Manny?  Say it ain’t so–ever!

And then there’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  I caught an informative and interesting article about him in Men’s Vogue the other day.  Did you know he’s the first Navajo to play in the Major Leagues?  Just another reason for me to appreciate him.  I’m not an official FG of his yet, but the more I learn about him the more I like him and I can see myself becoming one, especially after reading the article.  Here it is if you’d like to read it:

http://www.mensvogue.com/health/feature/articles/2008/03/jacoby?currentPage=1

Like I said, very interesting.  Put longer hair on him and he could be the cover model for the book I have coming out later this year, Snow Shadows.  Yep, he could be my Cherokee shape-shifter, Matt, especially since he spent his time in the off-season beefing up.

Hmmm, I wonder if he’d be open to posing for a pic of a paranormal romance hero who, in my editor’s words is “SO HOT!”  (hee-hee, I’ve been giggling over that little tidbit for days!)

The thing is…I’m about 50 pages into the next book, Storm Shadows (working title), and now I’m starting to worry about making the hero of this one, Matt’s brother Marc, “HOT!”  Can I do it?  Well, the only thing to do is write the story.  And now that I have a picture in my head of Jacoby Ellsbury, I think that will help immensely because the brothers in each of the four books in this series look very much alike, about the only difference being the color of their eyes and the length of their hair.  Jacoby’s is still shorter than Marc’s, but not by much.

So thanks, Jacoby, for the inspiration!

My sister, Christy, and her daughter, Meghann, are coming to visit today and we’re going…shopping?  Yep, shopping.  One of my least favorite things to do.  I used to love it, but as I get older, it’s become more of a bother than anything else.  Still, we’re not shopping for me, we’re shopping for my niece…specifically, for her wedding dress!  So I’m excited and really looking forward to it.  Plus, there’s the added bonus of spending time with her and my sister–two of the people I love best in this world!

Also, my sister’s sixth–yep, sixth!–book was just released and is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, among other places.  I was lucky enough to read the book before it went to edits and have been privileged to share in this fantastic journey with Christy.  She’s the one who got me started writing, the one who’s always encouraged me, the one person who’s always believed in me.  She’s credited me several times with helping her through the process of writing a book and dedicated one of her books to me.  And this time the main character has my name–well, not really my name, but the nickname her son, Jonathan, gave me when he was a baby–Giki.  But, in this book, Giki is a rock star and she has quite a few quirks and character traits that I don’t have, the least of which is she can sing and I, well…can’t.  

This book, the third in her Bodyguard Series, is entitled The Bodyguard and the Rock Star.  I’m in the process of splashing the review I wrote for it anywhere I can think of to post it, so I thought I’d put it up here instead of writing another blog entry about the Cassie Edwards thing, the edits I’m doing on my book, what I’m writing at the present, the way life is treating me, etc., etc., etc.

So, here it is:

With The Bodyguard and the Rock Star, Christy Tillery French has once again taken me on an enjoyable roller coaster ride of heart-stopping thrills and rib-tickling humor.

In the third installment of Ms. French’s Bodyguard series, Natasha Chamberlain eagerly takes on her latest assignment—guarding English rock star, Giki, on a tour of the Southern United States.  Natasha is convinced this will be an easy job.  True, Giki has a wild streak, and at times she’s uncontrollable in her desire to experience every facet of being a rock star, from sex to concerts to…sweets?  Yes, Giki has a sweet tooth that is sometimes irrepressible, along with several other bad habits, and Natasha soon feels more like a babysitter than a bodyguard.  No problem, she can handle the aggravation of that, but Giki has a secret; a cyber-stalker who is willing to do whatever it takes to end the rock star’s career.  And Natasha is suddenly caught up in a job that’s far more dangerous than she first assumed.

When she’s shot at the first concert, her fiancé, Jonce Striker, shows up at the hospital, and the battle is on as single-minded alpha male clashes with strong-minded, determined woman, adding another delightful twist to the thrilling plot.  Natasha loves Striker and would do just about anything for him, but the one thing she’s not willing to do is give up her job.  She knows she can protect Giki, and she’s going to prove it to Striker once and for all.  Jonce, however, is worried and despite her protests brings in the competent, but completely adorable duo of Pit and Bigun to safeguard her.

And well, let’s just say, chaos ensues as Natasha struggles to find her balance between Striker and her chosen profession and, as she always does, manages to get her man.  No spoilers here, I’m not going to tell you which one she gets, you’ll have to read it for yourself to find out!

As with all the books in her Bodyguard Series, Ms. French has peppered this one with laugh-out-loud humor, nail-biting suspense, familiar, lovable characters as well as a few new, quirky ones, and dialogue so realistic it practically leaps off the page.  Then there’s the constant and stimulating tug-of-war between a strong man and an even-stronger woman.  Throw in a delightful tour of the cities of the South, which Ms. French writes about with obvious love and pleasure, and you have a very satisfying read that will keep you glued to the pages until the end.

Needless to say, The Bodyguard and the Rock Star is going to join the other books by Ms. French on my keeper shelf!

Now, let’s see if I can remember how to get the cover up…

The Bodyguard and the Rock Star

Hey!  It worked!  Woo-hoo!  It’s a little small, but it’s there.  Wish it was bigger so you could see the details, because there’s an image of Natasha, the main character, on there who looks amazingly like my niece, Meghann, who Natasha was modeled after.  The cover artist didn’t know that, has never met Meghann, and still she came up with that image.  Can we all hum the tune from the Twilight Zone? 

The thing is…Meghann’s getting married in August and in the next book in this series, Natasha is thinking about marrying Striker, her former boss and her true love.  Will she do it?  I don’t know.  I don’t think my sister even knows.  I do know this is Meghann’s second engagement–thank God she broke the first one off, because her fiance now, Roberto, is perfect for her and they’re so happy they glow–so maybe Natasha will have to go through some struggles of her own before she finally marries Striker.  Hmmm…I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Okay, I have to get dressed.  I’ve got to track down the perfect wedding dress for my wonderful niece!

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams